Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Assume the Position

So we've come to the point in this process where I experienced a crazy thing called "sounding."  Thanks to Dr. Google, I had a bit of info going into this procedure, otherwise, I would have left Dr. Larry King's office feeling very violated and confused about what had just happened.  Please don't hear that I am not happy with my doc - I am.  I just sometimes think that, like anybody in any other profession, once you do something day in and day out for years, you forget that others don't have a clue what's going on.  Luckily, I have a doc and nurse who, after I ask my questions, realize that they're talking to an IVF virgin, and go back over everything in greater detail until I understand.

For all other IVF virgins, sounding is a procedure done to measure your uterus so they are 100% ready to go with equipment on the day of embryo transfer. They have a road map of where they're going.  My sounding appointment was at Dr. Larry King's office on Thursday, March 17, 2011 - I'm part Irish - I'm going to take this as a good sign. A nurse led us back to a procedure room and asked me to put on the very stylish paper gown with a matching paper blanket on my lap as an accessory.  And then Hubby and I waited.  And as children do when they're bored, we began to explore the procedure room.  Hubby was looking over what we were sure was an ultrasound machine and pointed out that he was glad that the doc had sprung for the "GE Pro Series" because he'd hate for them to be using amateur equipment for as much as we're paying.  I kept eye-balling the machine too.  Either it was an internal ultrasound machine or it was very happy to see me...  On the home screen, there were several options of ultrasounds that you could choose.  These included cardiac, pelvic.....and small parts.  Small parts?  Dare I even ask? 

Dr. Larry King and another cute little med student came into the room and began asking questions.  Doc wanted to know how things had gone since he last saw us in October 2010.  I told him that I'd been taking Metformin, lost 10 pounds, all of Hubby's test results had come back negative, and Hubby's doc had ruled his lack of tubes as a complete fluke.  I don't think Dr. Larry King was fully convinced it was a fluke and went ahead and ordered a CF test for me.  He said that if mine came back positive, we'd have to do some special screenings before choosing eggs to use.  But if it came back negative (which it did), we'd proceed as planned.  We let him know that Hubby's surgery was scheduled for 2 weeks later and we'd be ready to go once they determined there were sperm to be had.  He seemed to be satisfied with that info and asked me to slide down on the table and put my feet in the stirrups. Assume the position......

In went the speculum.  Then he tried to insert the catheter to measure the depth of my uterus, however, he dropped it on the floor.  So, while cute little med student was gone for several minutes looking for another catheter, I "hung out" while Dr. Larry King and Hubby waited.  It was breezy.  It was awkward.  I contemplated telling a joke, but figured I'd better mind myself this early in the game.

After the med student came back, clean catheter in hand, my Doc told me I'd feel some slight cramping as he inserted this thing all the way in.  It wasn't awful, but I could do without it ever happening again.  He pulled it out, measured it against a ruler, and declared that I was as average as someone can get.  While I'm OCD when it comes to academics, I'm quite OK with being average on this test.

Then I got to meet the internal ultrasound machine.  He told me that in the next part of the examination, he was going to look at my uterus and ovaries.  He shoved in the wand and began to poke around.  And ladies, this isn't comfortable.  He invited Hubby to come up beside him so he could see what was going on on the screen.  That's right.  Step right up!  Enjoy the show!  He shoved the wand all the way to the right (ugh) and pointed out a cyst on the outside of my ovary.  Hubby was able to see it.  I was not.  I was concentrating too much on what was actually going on internally to enjoy the show on the screen.  He measured the ovary's length and then shoved the wand all the way over to the left (ugh again).  Dr. Larry King pointed out that ovary was long and skinny, rather than round, but looked fine anyways.  Hubby was still enjoying the show and doc measured this side too.

Then, this whole "sounding" procedure became interactive.  He inserted a tube inside me that was connected to a syringe and handed me the syringe.  It looked like it was full of clear gel.  He said that he was going to have me inject the gel into my uterus so he could see it expand on the screen and measure it as well.  (I thought the med student should have done this.  She was not contributing anything at this point.  I figured she could have helped out somehow - you know, earned her "keep" for being allowed to see me naked, but no.  I had to do the work.)  So in again went the wand and I was given the signal to inject.  By this point I was a bit more used to what was going on internally and could see a little of what was going on on the screen.  I watched the little bubble in my uterus get bigger as I injected and I knew I was doing it right.  He asked me to stop while he took a measurement on the screen, once again stating that everything looked fine.  He printed out all of his measurements from the ultrasound machine while he took everything out of my hoo hah.  He handed me a maxi pad, instructed me to get dressed and asked us to come out when I was ready.  I got dressed and waited because Hubby thought the Doc had said to wait.  Pretty soon, Dr. Larry King popped his head in and said they'd been waiting on us.  Oops.  He led us to his nurse's office where she gave me the orders for a CF screening blood test for me and told me to let her know as soon as I found out if we had sperm from Hubby's surgery.

We went just down the road where I got the CF blood test done and then headed back home because I had a Board of Directors meeting later that afternoon.  I wasn't in extreme pain, but I certainly felt uncomfortable for about the next day.  I could tell that parts had been touched that aren't normally touched - kind of like how it hurts and is uncomfortable right when you take your hair down after it's been in a tight pony tail for about a day.  Not horribly wrong, but not exactly right either.  I spotted for about a day.

It was St. Pat's Day.  After that whole ordeal was done and I parted ways with the doc and the ultrasound machine, I wasn't sure whether I should have a cigarette or a green beer!


  1. Ugh, that sounds like a crappy way to spend St. Patty's day. But I guess it is a necessary evil to achieve that elusive bfp. I hope all future tests are better!

  2. Ugh - I'm not an IVF virgin, but I've never had a 'sounding' (but then again, I'm not in the US).

  3. What an awesome St. Patty's Day... I love how he pulled your hubby right there next to him and showed him everything. My husband does not like ANYTHING medical so he probably would have passed out or something just by looking at the ultrasound machine! I hope everything continues to work out for you!

  4. Its so strange how different all of the various doctors are. My doc hasn't mentioned this. As far as I know, my upcoming Hysteroscopy will be the only similar test for me.

  5. As if he asked you to inject the liquid yourself! Glad you're (now) able to see the humor in that whole was a one of a kind experience for sure!